Put a spring in your hiking step
Let’s not call them hikes for the lazy. Let’s call them hikes for the casual — the mosey-ers, the cloud gatherers, the stop-and-look-at-every-rock-and-flower-ers.
While many Colorado hikes might best be described as character-building (read: lung-exploding) with their 4,000 foot elevation gains and precarious angles and startling drop-offs and fields of scree, others are just… not. These are the relaxed sighs, the peaceful afternoons, the take it all in without blowing a knee.
The easy trails. And many of them are blessedly nearby!
Riggs Hill: Good ol’ Elmer Riggs, finder of fossils, noter of paleontological detail, all around great guy. And the trail around the hill named for him is less than a mile yet offers beautiful views, a whole lot of geology and a sign commemorating where Riggs found a brachiosaurus skeleton (the sign spells it “brachyosaurus”). To get there, take the Redlands Parkway west (it becomes S. Broadway). The parking area is on the north side of the road.
Juniata Reservoir: Located on Purdy Mesa at the base of Grand Mesa, the Juniata Reservoir trail is a four-mile loop that invites a desultory, wool-gathering pace. To emphasize: It is easy. And lovely! Especially this time of year, with everything about to bloom. To get there, turn left on Kannah Creek/Lands End Road from U.S. Highway 50, drive about five miles and veer left onto Lands End Road when the road forks. Then, turn right onto Divide Road and left onto Purdy Mesa Road. The trail’s parking area is a little more than a mile up and on the left.
Corn Lake: Yes, Corn Lake. And OK, the loop around it isn’t so much a hike as a walk, but it’s lovely and only a mile. Plus, so close! You can go on your lunch break! Access it from 32 Road, directly north of the Colorado River.
Trail through Time: One word here, folks: dinosaurs! On the 1.5 mile Trail through Time, it’s possible to see the fossilized remains of this area’s Jurassic inhabitants. Trail through Time is administered by the Museum of Western Colorado and the Bureau of Land Management, and is part of the Rabbit Valley Research Natural Area. To get there, take exit 2 off Interstate 70 and part in the lot north of the interstate.
Devils Canyon D4 trail: This is one of the nicest loops in the Devils Canyon trail system, which is in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, on account of, you know, it’s easy. Also, it offers spectacular sandstone vistas from a relatively level, three-mile loop trail. Just be careful following the signs, because it’s easy to get on a longer — and harder — loop. To get there, take Broadway north and turn west onto Kingsview Road; follow it to the parking area, which is well-marked.